The Lovesong of J. Michael Arpaio

Posted in Poetry, racism at 6:17 pm by angela

Reprinted from DailyKos, by NoVa Boy

The Love Song of J. Michael Arpaio

LET us go then, you and I,
When the evening is spread out against the sky
Like a lover etherized, wistful and alone;
Let us go, through certain half-remembered streets,
The stuttering defeats
Of restless nights tequila drowned
And lively restaurantes hot with bodies:
Streets that flow with feverish longing
Of insidious intent
To lead you to an overwhelming feeling …
Oh, do not ask, “What is it?”
Let us go and make our visit.

In the tienda the ladies come and go
Talking of Español.

The pale-jade fog that rubs its back upon the window-panes,
The pale-jade smoke that rubs its muzzle on the window-panes
Flicked its tongue into the sultry airs of the evening,
Lingered upon the voices that play at night,
Let fall upon its ears the music that falls from windows,
Slipped by the terrace, made a sudden leap,
And seeing that it was a soft octubre night,
Peeped through the curtains, where a chica lies asleep.

And indeed there will be a time
For the pale-jade smoke that slides along the street,
Rubbing itself upon the window-panes;
There will be a time, there will be a time
To prepare a sneer to meet the smiles that you meet;
There will be a time to love and hate,
And time for dusky faces and dusky hands
Framed, ah – lovely, by the bars of the closed gate;
Time for that and time for me,
And time yet for a hundred arrests,
And for a hundred arrests and protests,
Before the taking of an illegal’s plea.

In the calle the ladies come and go
Talking of Español.

And indeed there will be a time
To wonder, “Do I dare?” and, “Do I dare?”
A time for rejection and retreat in despair,
To tear with clammy hands my pale, lank hair—
[They will laugh at my back: “little hombre, pequeño!”]
My mourning coat, my collar pulled over my ears, head low,
My belt loose, hands scrabbling, shoulders bent low—
[They will shake their pinkies at me: “pequeño Americano!”]
Do I dare
Taste exotic fruit?
In a minute there is time
For decisions and revisions which in a minute will be moot.

For I have known them all already, known them all:—
Have known the evenings, mornings, the buenas tardes,
I have longed my life for succulent kisses;
I know the voices dying with a dying fall
Beneath the music from a farther room.
So how should I presume?

And I have known the eyes already, known them all—
Dark eyes transfix you in a Spanish phrase,
And when I am fixed, sprawling on a pin,
When I am pinned and wriggling on the wall,
Then how should I begin
To spit out all the butt-ends of my days and ways?
And how should I presume?

And I have known the arms already, known them all—
Arms that are braceleted, dusky and bare
[But in the lamplight, downed with dark brown hair!]
It is perfume from a dress
That makes me so digress?
Arms that sprawl long a bed, or wrap about a shawl.
And should I then presume?
And how should I begin?

. . . . .

Shall I say, I have crept at dusk through narrow streets
And watched the fruit that hang from the trees
In the parque, exotic fruit swaying in the warm southern breeze?…

I should have been a pair of ragged claws
Scuttling across the floors of silent seas.

. . . . .

And the afternoon, the evening, sleeps its siesta!
Smoothed by brown fingers,
Asleep … languid … it lingers,
Stretched on the floor, before the fiesta.
Should I, plying my devices,
Have the strength to force the moment to its crisis?
But though I have loved and hated, loved and predated,
Though I have burned to taste chaotic kisses,
I am no lover—and when my kiss she dismisses;
Then, then the moment of my fondness flickers,
And I flee the open door, and hear the snickers,
And in short, I was deflated.

. . . . .

No! I am not Don Juan, nor was meant to be;
Am an embittered boy, one that will do
To bait, to regress, arrest a wetback or two,
Punish them all; no doubt, an easy tool,
Hypocritical, glad to be of use,
Political, cruel, and corrupt;
Full of high dudgeon, but a bit obtuse;
At times, indeed, truly ridiculous—
Utterly, at all times, the Fool.

I grow old … I grow bitter …
I yearn ever for the savor of exotic fruit.

Shall I profile them all? Do I dare to taste a Spanish peach?
I shall wear white, eat white, and listen to the Pastor preach.
I have heard the dusk-maids singing, each to each.

I do not think that they will sing to me.

I have seen them dance, skirts sweeping the floor
Curling the dark hair of dark boys in their fingers
I have watched them touch, laughing, a kiss lingers.

. . . . .

We have lingered in dreams of hot, strong embraces
By dark-girls wreathed with scents sultry and brown
Till shrill voices wake us, and we drown.